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SF Bay Area Top Five


melkor
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It seems that here on the California forum we focus on restaurant recommendations when someone posts they are coming to visit. There are individual restaurant reviews, but in general we don't spend much time talking about where we love to eat. List your top five favorite restaurants in order, toss in a few to-be-avoided places if you want. Let's see if there is anything that remotely resembles a consensus on what is best from Gilroy to the bottom of Mendocino county and out towards Sacramento.

edit: changed from 10 to 5, since I got stuck at 6 on my list :laugh:

Edited by melkor (log)
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I'll get things started with my list, which is obviously biased towards where I live -

#1 The French Laundry, Yountville

#2 Gary Danko, SF

#3 The Martini House, St Helena

#4 Terra, St Helena

#5 Kiss Seafood, SF

Places to avoid -

Michael Mina, SF

Fleur de Lys, SF

Tra Vigne, St Helena

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1. Manresa - Los Gatos

2. Gary Danko - SF

3. Bistro Jeanty - Yountville

4. Rosamunde Sausage Grill - lwr Haight, SF

5. Yum Yum House Chinese - valencia St., SF (I kid you not). $5 lunches, fresh and very good!!

The first 3 are the 3 'best' California meals I've had in the last year, the other 2 I chose because they are food I love and eat on a day to day basis. One of the things that I think is great about the NorCal food scene, especially in comparison to London, where I spend time too, is how great the cheap food is, so I thought my list should reflect that.

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Okay, these are not necessarily places I think are stupendous so much as old favorites we frequently return to for their consistency, value, and good food.

Oh, and proximity to our house.

#1 Gary Danko

#2 Cafe Rouge

#3 Kirala

#4 Chaat Cafe

#5 Holy Land

Places to avoid:

Oliveto, except for special event meals

Frishman's New York Deli on Solano

Downtown (Berkeley), unless you're getting appetizers

Edited by Hest88 (log)
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Cafe Lahaye ,Sonoma

Martini House, St Helena

Sonoma Savers, Sonoma

Depot Hotel, Sonoma

Della Santina's, Sonoma

Willi's Wine Bar, Santa rosa

Cellar Cat Cafe, Glen Ellen

Swiss Hotel, Sonoma

The Girl and The Fig, Sonoma

Gary Chu's, Santa Rosa

Edited by winesonoma (log)

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In no particular order. I need a break so here I am dawdling on eGullet again. I'm sick of writing code.

Gary Danko: very consistent, love that roast lobster with trumpet mushroom and the crunchy super sweet SH2 corn. (an educated guess). bar has lots of good eye candy for lone diner.

Koi Palace: Still my fave in SF but pales in comparison with Sea Harbour down south.

Kiss Seafood: the only sushi I really like so far in SF area, but I haven't been there in a while.

Shanghai Dumpling Shop: great juicy dumplings though kind of variable lately. great pan fried scallion bread. Good solid food across the board. We keep going back and back and back. Cheap too.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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my 10 favorites:

the high end

The French Laundry

Manresa

the middle end

Kiss

Zuni

Delfina

1550 Hyde

Chez Papa (for the vibe)

the lower end

Shalimar (for goat curry)

Hing Lung (for a big bowl of steaming jok)

Thai House Express (for a quick bite of Thai noodly or rice-y things)

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Koi Palace:  Still my fave in SF but pales in comparison with Sea Harbour down south.

Joan, you still haven't gotten the lay of the land up here. Koi Palace IS down south.

I hasten to add that you've named two that would be on my list (KP and SDS), and have in the past sympathized with my depraved appreciation of Y. Ben House.

A special Oscar for Star Lunch for finally precisely calibrating their Stinky Tofu ($3.75 for a large plate), a feat which Thomas Keller has yet to equal.

Just to show that I can branch out, Saigon Sandwich.

Just say no to Yank Sing

Edited by Gary Soup (log)
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Favorites, in no particular order:

1. Chez Panisse

2. Jojo's

3. Zuni Cafe

4. La Boheme (Carmel)

5. Terra

(and Hurricane Kate's, but that's in Eureka, :hmmm: so I suppose that doesn't count.)

Places to avoid:

Cafe Beaujolais and as far as I can tell, any place in the Montclair area of Oakland. Parking sucks and I've yet to find any place with a meal that's worth three circles around the block. Since I live five minutes from there, this should be your clue I've had some REALLY bad meals up there!

Also, I have sworn off chef's tasting dinners forever. As far as I'm concerned, they are the upscale verson of "value meals" and "go big." No matter how small each portion may be, at the end of the evening I have eaten two to three times the normal portion of food. One thing all of my favorites have in common (with perhaps the exception of Zuni, and their chicken makes great leftovers) is that they serve what would traditionally be considered "normal portions."

:angry: I've just had it with places that serve platters of food!!! :angry:

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places i love, in order

* manresa (might be my finest meal i've had)

* chez panisse (simple food done well)

* jardiniere (pre-stupidity about foie gras)

* the burrito nazi (don't know the name of the place but it's in fremont)

* thai-lao kitchen (for personal reasons)

avoid:

* oliveto

* oliveto

* oliveto (did i mention oliveto?)

Isaac Bentley

Without the culinary arts, the crudeness of the world would be unbearable. - Kate & Leopold

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For non-special occasion everyday Restaurants in my neighborhood. Places that get my dining dollars. Excluding friends restaurants(thats why my list is short)

1. Farmhouse Inn

2. Ledsons

3. Applewood Inn

4. Many local ethnic restaurants. Thai, Mexican, Indian, Chinese ETC.

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Joan, you still haven't gotten the lay of the land up here.  Koi Palace IS down south.

I beg to differ. Koi Palace is about 400 miles north of the Sea Harbour (Rosemead, SoCal, the one tissue introduced to a bunch of the L.A. eGulleters) that I'm talking about. I hope nobody thought I meant the Sea Harbour in the Bay Area. I think there is one, but I haven't been.

- But yeah, Koi Palace is 20 min south of SF (driving).

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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For non-special occasion everyday Restaurants in my neighborhood. Places that get my dining dollars. Excluding friends restaurants(thats why my list is short)

1. Farmhouse Inn

2. Ledsons

3. Applewood Inn

4. Many local ethnic restaurants. Thai, Mexican, Indian, Chinese ETC.

I went to the Farm House Inn , again on Sunday Oct.3.

I had the Foie Gras, Followed with Rabbit, Rabbit , Rabbit (prepared three ways- Confit leg, Frenched Rack and the loin wrapped in applewood bacon), finishing with a Huckleberry tart.

The Joseph Swan Pinot Nior was choosen, covering the range of entrees selected by the other guest, and was outstanding.

I had the rabbit before, its a very ambitious preperation , and well executed both times. The best rabbit dish I've ever eaten in a restaurant.

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For non-special occasion everyday Restaurants in my neighborhood. Places that get my dining dollars. Excluding friends restaurants(thats why my list is short)

1. Farmhouse Inn

2. Ledsons

3. Applewood Inn

4. Many local ethnic restaurants. Thai, Mexican, Indian, Chinese ETC.

So what are your favorite local ethnic restaurants...?

allison

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So what are your favorite local ethnic restaurants...?

My favorite local ethnic restaurants. ( something influenced by the location).

I tend to be frugal, frustrated and overly fussey, when it comes to fine dining restaurants , hence- I cook alot at home.

Never the less, I do try to get out , to see what's happening.

Pomposh(Indian)

Hiro's

Royal China

Kirin

Pepi's

Jhanthong Banbua (Thai)

Thai Taste 2

Do you have any suggestions, to add to my list ?

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My favorite local ethnic restaurants. ( something  influenced by the location).

I tend to be frugal, frustrated and overly fussey, when it comes to fine dining restaurants , hence- I cook alot at home.

Never the less, I do try to get out , to see what's happening.

Pomposh(Indian)

Hiro's

Royal China

Kirin

Pepi's

Jhanthong Banbua (Thai)

Thai Taste 2

Do you have any suggestions, to add to my list ?

Looks like you live in Santa Rosa - I haven't eaten much in that area, although a few of us enjoyed a snack at a taco truck just off Hwy 101 in Geyserville last month.

allison

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